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Broken iPromises: Top Apple Inc. Announcements That Didn't 'Just Work'

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Many products Apple showcased at its past developers' conferences were far from flawless -- and some were total failures.

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Over the past decade, Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has grown into a premier event for the Mac community, and it is where the company announces its new products and initiatives, most often with a focus on software.

While every past WWDC event has included at least one glitchy demo or some other type of "fail" moment, some products have turned out to be total disasters. Here's a rundown of the biggest failures we've seen announced at WWDC.

MobileMe (2008)

Apple's subscription-based service MobileMe included a number of features such as email, cloud file storage, picture and video galleries, a calendar, and an address book. Its launch was a complete disaster; the service immediately faced a number of outages, data syncing problems and even security issues.

In an internal memo, Steve Jobs admitted, "The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour," and "MobileMe was simply not up to Apple's standards – it clearly needed more time and testing."



After a couple of years in updates and patches, the service was discontinued in 2011 and succeeded by iCloud.

iCloud (2011)

Frankly, it would not be fair for Apple customers to call the MobileMe successor a total disaster. But the fancy Apple iCloud doesn't seem to "just work" as Jobs promised. Between syncing troubles and repeated outages that became more frequent after the launch of the iOS 6 in September 2012, the iCloud was not providing users with a seamless and flawless cloud experience.

And it was an even bigger pain for developers. App creators were frustrated by the complexity and messiness of the implementation and a lack of support from Apple. "iCloud with Core Data is a developer's worst nightmare," one developer told The Verge.



Things got better over time, but still are far from perfect, meaning that third-party apps still struggle to provide users with the full advantage of the cloud service.

More updates to come, huh, Apple?

iOS 6 Maps (2012)

At last year's WWDC, Apple decided to ax embedded maps by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in its iOS 6, which was released September 2012. That decision led to a total nightmare for Apple and its customers, especially given that the company burned bridges – and Google didn't release a standalone Maps app until December.

The Apple maps that looked so neat and fancy at demonstrations in reality appeared to be surprisingly inaccurate and poorly detailed, with bridges disconnected from the roads, countries without capitals, and numerous navigation mistakes, some which would have cost people their lives, if someone had tried to follow them.


Image courtesy of theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/

The scale of the problem was so huge that Apple had to publicly apologize to its customers, stating that the company "fell short" of its commitment to making "world-class products that deliver the best experience possible."

Scott Forstall, one of the top managers overseeing the software, was fired, allegedly because of his unwillingness to sign a public apology.

With WWDC underway, let's wish current Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team the best of luck. May none of today's announcements land on a future recap of Apple disasters.

Also see:

A Walk With iOS 6 Maps: Apple's Horribly Revamped App Does New York

Google Has Destroyed Apple's Walled Garden From Within
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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